India wins Kishanganga case at The Hague court #Pakistan #Kashmir


Ravish Tiwari : New Delhi, Tue Feb 19 2013,

The International Court of Arbitration at The Hague Monday ruled in favour of India‘s position on the diversion of Kishanganga water, setting aside objections by Pakistan that has halted work on the 330 MW Kishanganga hydel project in Jammu & Kashmir.

Islamabad took New Delhi to the court of arbitration in the summer of 2010, disrupting Indian plans to divert water from the Kishanganga into the Bona Madmati Nallah. Islamabad said the diversion violated provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty of 1965, a claim that India refuted.

While the broad verdict is in India’s favour, officials were learnt to be going through the detailed order to check the fine print. The verdict is likely to mean a green signal for the Kishanganga project. Pakistan had earlier taken India to a neutral inter-nations expert for resolution of a dispute on the Baglihar dam, which too had gone in India’s favour in 2007.

In a statement issued late on Monday evening, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “The award of the court of arbitration at The Hague today reaffirms the validity of India’s position… It highlights once again that India is adhering to all the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.”

Former Central Water Commission chairman A K Bajaj, who was involved with the process of dispute resolution from the beginning and had been engaged by the government even after retirement, said, “It was a major point that Pakistan was opposing on various frivolous grounds and it is good that the hon’ble tribunal has decided the matter by correctly interpreting the relevant provisions of the Treaty.”

Former water resources secretary Dhruv Vijay Singh, who spearheaded the Indian case, told The Indian Express, “India always believed in abiding by the provisions of the treaty. And we will continue to do so.”

The arbitration went through tumultous phases after New Delhi and Islamabad failed to agree on the nomination of three neutral judges. Both sides invoked a provision in the treaty under which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had to nominate Stephen M Schwebel, a former president of the International Court of Justice, as the head of the seven-member arbitration bench.

The technical expert was nominated by the rector of London’s Imperial College of Science and Technology, and the legal expert was recommended by the Lord Chief Justice of England to complete the three neutral members, including the chairman, on the bench.

The bench, on which the two countries nominated two members each, visited both sides of the LoC before beginning a detailed hearing which concluded on August 31 last year.

India’s legal team was led by Fali S Nariman and comprised international law expert Shankar Das and hired foreign lawyers. The technical and factual case was presented by a team comprising Singh, Bajaj, Indus Commissioner G Aranganathan and his deputy Darpan Talwar, among others.

 

Crusading Spanish judge is suspended for career-ending 11 years


10TH FEB, 2012  MADRID — Spain‘s most famous judge, heralded abroad for seeking to put dictators behind bars, has been found guilty of overstepping his authority in a corruption probe here.

Baltasar Garzón won global fame for indicting former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. He’s been dubbed a “dictator-hunter” abroad for championing the principle of “universal jurisdiction,” the idea that some crimes are so heinous that they deserve to be investigated, no matter where or when.

But his crusade hit a snag Thursday in Spain. The country’s Supreme Court convicted Garzón of misusing his authority while investigating alleged corruption involving figures in Spain’s now-ruling conservative party.

The high court barred Garzón, 56, from the bench for 11 years, a decision that cannot be appealed and that effectively ends his career in Spain because he will be past retirement age when the suspension ends.

But it’s unclear what effect, if any, Thursday’s ruling will have on Garzón’s international work. He has served as an advisor to the International Criminal Court in The Hague and has investigated political crimes and genocide in Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Rwanda and Tibet. Garzón even tried to investigate former U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales for allegedly authorizing torture of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That case was dropped amid fierce American diplomatic pressure.
“Judge Garzón is still a heroic figure in many parts of the world, and he’s not going to have difficulty finding people who want to use his investigative skills,” said Reed Brody, a Brussels-based lawyer with Human Rights Watch who knows the judge personally and traveled to Madrid to watch his trial.

Garzón’s conviction came in one of three trials against him. He is awaiting a verdict in a case that wrapped up Wednesday, involving his probe into more than 100,000 deaths and disappearances that date back to the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. Garzón is accused of violating a 1977 amnesty law that prohibits investigations into political crimes from the war and nearly 40-year military dictatorship that followed.

A third case, involving alleged payments from a Spanish bank, has yet to begin. It is the only case that carries the possibility of jail time if Garzón is convicted.

Garzón’s job as an investigative judge at Spain’s National Court was like that of a U.S. district attorney. For years, he helped put drug barons, Basque terrorists and corrupt politicians behind bars. In 2009, Garzón ordered wiretaps of jailhouse conversations between inmates and their lawyers, as part of a larger corruption probe involving the conservative Popular Party.

Garzón’s hunch was right, and one of the lawyers was indicted. But the seven-member Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that those wiretaps were illegal.

Brody said some of Garzón’s colleagues backed his decision to order the wiretaps.

“There are many judges who agreed that it was proper for Judge Garzón to do what he did,” Brody said. “Yet he’s the one who is being prosecuted for it.

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